Comparison of different enneagram schools’ opinions of centre use

Authors generally agree on the primary ‘centre’ for the types, i.e. 234 – heart, 567 – intellectual, 891 – instinctive or ‘gut’ centre, although exact terminology used varies. What does vary, however, are interpretations as to which centre (if any) is non-preferred or repressed. For example
*Hurley & Donson equate repressed centres to the Horneyvian triad i.e. 126- unused mental centre, 378 – repression of feeling centre, 459- repressed instinctive. Hurley would then go on to talk about the ’emotional wounds’ of each type – the centres equating to love (feeling), hope (instinctive) or faith (thinking). Its interesting to contrast her theories with Ichazo’s, who allocates hope/faith/love to specify types rather than whole centers (the inner triangle 3-6-9).
*Tom Condon specifies that (for example) 234 are the types which have problems with ‘feeling’; deriving from Palmer’s description. The argument is that the feelings of types here (2,4) are to some extent indirectly derived, e.g. through considering how others would view them, making them to some extent unreal.
The view of feeling centre, isn’t isn’t systematically extended to the other centers, however. Palmer also talks about 5 as being ‘internalized fear’ and ‘afraid to feel’, so has feeling issues irrespective of dominant centre.
*several authors generally agree that ‘3’ has feeling issues, irrespective of whether other feeling types (2,4) are affected.
*While 1 is theoretically in moving centre, it is sometimes view as ‘under-utilizing’ this centre, or other descriptions describe it as having particular issues around instinctive drives.
*other theories describe each triad as underuse/over-use/non-use of the centre. This is however problematic in that overall, that makes a triad deficient in its ‘centre’, nor is it clear how a wing can work in this case.
*Another view would be derived via comparison to the Jungian functions. In this view, for example, 1 and 5 would be expected to have poor Fi and Fe (aspects of feeling centre), while 2 and 4 could be expected to be bad at ‘thinking’; in the case of 4, Te as a dominant function seems to equate to One in the ‘instinctive’ centre, which could imply 4 has difficulties with instinctive centre, rather than intellectual entre.
Conversely, 5 is sometimes viewed as having poor ‘doing’, but 5 can be ISTPs in a Jungian sense, i.e. secondary extraverted sensation which is probably a facet of instinctive-centre. Similarly, a view of Seven as Ne (or even Se) suggests they could have either Fi (2nd function) or Fe (4th function), rather than having poor feeling as Hurley & Donson speculate.

Overall then, theories vary dramatically as to which types are bad at what. As an overview across authors we have:
1: bad intellectual (Hurley) or feeling (Jungian). (Instinctive at lower probability)
2: any
3: feeling
4: any
5: instinctive or feeling
6: intellectual
7: feeling (Donson) or instinctive (Jungian, Si)
8: feeling or intellectual (Jungian)
9: instinctive

We might expect the centres to actually be a 3×3 pattern of preferred x repressed, although some authors would disagree with the theory there (Condon).
Tritype requires special note. In a ‘tritype’ theory, someone has a preferred type in each of three different centres; that largely opposes any idea as to particular ‘repressed centre’, since if a given type doesn’t use the centre in question, it wouldn’t also have a different type to specify usage of it. If all three of ‘someones’ types have various repressed centre preferences, some of these would invariably loop back and interfere with the primary type.
However, I do think there could be some correlation between tritype and Jungian function, which somewhat bridge concepts here. [More in later post].


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